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Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney

Cover Diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney

Very short synopsis:

Illustrated diary of a middle school kid, describing his life at school and at home.


inanutshell 

I read it in: German (Gregs Tagebuch)

I liked it: Yes

My thoughts:

I can’t praise this book enough. If you have a school child who HATES reading and so far has never picked up a book voluntarily, try this one! We didn’t listen to the advice of the book sellers at our trusted comic shop (this book is not a comic, though) and discarded their suggestion of that very book because we thought it had too many pages, was too intimidating etc. However, a few weeks later our non-reader came along and told us that he wanted exactly this book. With pleasure, son! He read it in five evenings (224 pages), a miracle. He even copied a paragraph out of the book to take it to school and read to his friends, because I didn’t allow him to take the book. Voluntary writing – another first.
We had ordered the sequel at the same time and he started reading right afterwards.

As the book was also on my TBR list I read it after him and totally enjoyed it. There are a few situations where I cried with laughter. Oh, the things Greg and his mate get up to! It’s just too funny!

If you need a good laugh, even as an adult, get this book!


Product info and buy link :
Title Diary of a wimpy kid
Author Jeff Kinney
Publisher Puffin Books
ISBN 9780141324906
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Diary of a wimpy kid

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Paper artist by Gail Green

paper_artist


In a nutshell:   

 

Short synopsis: Paper projects for children of all ages

Did I like it? Yes, it is inspirational and gives tons of ideas and instructions

For people who: like paper and crafting


My thoughts:   

 

The projects in this book cover a wide range of topics and levels of difficulty. Every (future) paper crafter can find something here that appeals to him/her. The book is divided into several chapters, from “Adorable Accessories” (definitely for girls), “Pretty Presents”, “Classy Keepsakes” to “Dazzling Decorations”.

Some of the projects are intricate and fragile; as the mother of two boys I would predict that they won’t stay intact for very long, but maybe girls are a bit more careful with paper art. If you are a beginner or you have clumsy and impatient kids, you should start with some of the easier, more sturdy items, but as you get more experienced you can try your skills with more advanced projects. And there is plenty to choose from. Tubular frames, quilled name plates, cards, photo cubes, book ends, owls, boxes, ornaments, time capsules, you name it. The techniques vary, from scrapbooking to quilling, to weaving to mosaic. Some of them easy, some of them rather sophisticated and with a lot of supplies. The instructions are always clear and easy to follow.

If you are a paper crafter and would like to introduce your child to it, or if you want to explore paper crafting together with your child, this book is something you should definitely have a look out for.


Product info and buy link :

Title Paper artist: Creations kids can fold, wear, tear or share
Author Gail Green
Publisher Capstone Press
ISBN 9781623700041
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy Paper artist (publishing date March 01, 2013)

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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In my mailbox

 

I will be walking down Memory Lane soon as I have ordered a few books that I loved when I was a little girl. Officially I wanted them so we can read them to our boys at bedtime , but I am sure I will read them myself beforehand.

I bought

Enid Blyton is the creator of many series, but the one I always liked best is the “Five find-outers mystery series”. Five kids, one dog, a small English village, an oaf of a Bobby and cozy mysteries, what else can you ask for? The series was on my auto buy list way before I even knew what auto buy meant and getting a new book (there are 15 total) was always the highlight of the week or month.

I found the first six books in two hardcovers at Awesome Books for about €3 each, a real bargain. They are:

  • The mystery of the burn cottage
  • The mystery of the disappearing cat
  • The mystery of the secret room
  • The mystery of the spiteful letters
  • The mystery of the missing necklace
  • The mystery of the hidden house

 

Mystery series book 1Mystery series book 2

I will be having so much fun!

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter readalong

I know, I will probably get some hate mail in the near future.

This is about the third time or so that I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and, once more, it was like reading it (almost) for the first time. Harry Potter books are – for me – “forgettable”. I can’t imagine how there are adults out there who remember every little detail about every completely inconsequential character, every meaningless detail, every irrelevant incident. I can’t. Every time I read Harry Potter it’s a new experience.

That being said, a new experience is not necessarily a good one. This time I found the book rather dull, uninspiring, full of stereotypes and lifeless. Harry Potter seemed like a meddlesome, precocious little boy who doesn’t know his place. He is making wrong assumptions all through the book, is prejudiced and a general nuisance.

The message of the book – that continues in the rest of the series – is a dubious one in parts. Why, oh why, does Voldemort have to look like the caricature of Nosferatu in a snake mask (I admit I am somewhat influenced by the movies here, but his movie looks do come close to his description in the books)? He should be a charming and maybe average looking man with charisma instead. Most people who are evil don’t look the part, and vice versa. How he gained so many followers is a mystery to me, considering that he kills his supporters just as ready as he kills his enemies. Why follow him if you don’t gain anything from it?

The role of unreliable Hagrid is also puzzling. Why Dumbledore would trust that oaf (sorry, Hagrid lovers!)  I can’t imagine. I mean, he gives away the secret of how to knock out Fluffy to a complete stranger in a pub! Not to mention the fact that he thinks he can raise an illegal dragon on Hogwarts’ grounds without it being noticed. The man is a liability.

The only fairly interesting character in the whole book is Snape. I love poor Snape (blame Alan Rickman!). Even though he seems to be the good guy at the end of the Philosopher’s Stone his dubious role is being played out until practically the last pages of the whole series. An easy method to keep up the tension without any further efforts.

I don’t know what I saw in those books when I read them for the first time (and I was not a kid back then). I suppose the nice setting in a wizard world ensnared me and I didn’t realize how unsubstantial the books really are. I am sure that lots of people are going to tell  me now how well planned out everything is and how a little detail in book one already was the harbinger of an occurrence five books later and how greatly interwoven the whole storyline is. That may be so, just I can’t see it because by the time I read book five I have completely forgotten what I read four books (or one book) earlier.

I have been watching the movies at the same time that I was reading The Philosopher’s Stone and enjoyed watching them for the beautiful setting, the good actors and all the action. I’ve got to admit though that I am rooting for the bad guys – to no avail, I am afraid.

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Cover Coraline by Neil GaimanI never knew buttons could be so frightening.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Coraline has to fight an evil witch to get her parents back. At the same time she rescues a few lost souls.

Language I read the book in: German (Coraline)

Did I like it? Oh, yes.

For people who: like children’s adventures, good vs. evil, witches and smart cats.

 


My thoughts: 

This was my first book by Neil Gaiman and I didn’t know what to expect. I have heard a lot about him, but it was always referring to adult literature and not children’s books.

I finished Coraline in one afternoon which is rather remarkable as I normally drag books around for ages. But this was a quick read, very entertaining (in a spooky sort of way) and – I wanted to get it over with. I never read thrillers or horror (not anymore, that is), and now you know, why. If Coraline is already scaring me to death, what a bundle of nerves would I be after reading some adult thriller?

Coraline is such a courageous girl, it is amazing. She is sensible, clever and fearless. The book should be read by every child out there so she can be their role model. The ideas Neil Gaiman came up with – OMG, I have no idea how kids relate to them, but I found them frightening to the extreme. Fake parents with buttons for eyes, a world that slowly dissolves, some ancient being acting as a corridor? Bloody Hell, for me that was about as much as I could bear. But I am a bit of a scaredy cat.

Anyway, this story had me from the beginning and I just couldn’t stop reading until it was over, evil was outplayed and everything was good again. Totally recommendable for children and adults alike.


Movie tip

Coraline


Product info and buy link :

Title Coraline
Author Neil Gaiman
Publisher HarperPerennial
ISBN 9780061139376
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Coraline

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

Have YOU found anything interesting this week?

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Harry Potter readalong

hpreadalong

My Bookish confessions yesterday caused Chinoiseries to tell me about the Harry Potter read along starting on September 1. How fun! Just what I need to get reacquainted with Harry Potter & friends (at least for a few days until I finish the book).

The read along is hosted by lost generation reader and goes until middle of December. I should be able to read at least a few of the books in that period; seeing that I am a notoriously slow reader I might not make them all. I will stick to the original novels because I am not interested in other J.K. Rowling books or HP secondary literature.

Just in case you have forgotten what the seven Harry Potter books are called, here is a list:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Who else is going to join us, sharing reviews and chatting about Harry Potter?

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Fun locations: Legoland (and some advice)

Legoland

This is where I spent the last two days. Lots of fun and perfect weather. Legoland Germany (and I assume any other Legoland) is gigantic and there are so many rides and things to see and do that one day is not enough.

A word of advice:

If you ever go to a Legoland do buy the Express Pass! Believe me, I am not a spendthrift, but not getting that Pass is wrong economy. At Legoland Germany the Express Pass reserves spots to go an various (not all) rides without you having to wait in line. With waiting times of about an hour it saves you LOTS of time and whining. Reserve your spots for a ride with the device and show up at the given time. No standing in line at all. When you get there you just skip the queue and go to the front end of the line.

Even if it means that you won’t be able to afford a meal, do get that pass! Bring your sandwiches, if you have to. It will make your Legoland experience so much more enjoyable.

PS.: I am no Legoland affiliate. I just learned the hard way and want to spare you the same experience, :).

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Book locations: Tintenherz (Ink Heart)

Buchhandlung Tintenherz

Isn’t that the nicest looking kids’ bookshop ever? Doesn’t it just invite you to come in and start reading? Well, it doesn’t invite my kids, as they are no readers (one can’t read yet, the other hates it), but generally speaking.

The shop is called “Tintenherz” (Ink heart)  and it also has a website and online store where you can have another look around. If you would like to go there and check the shop out in person, it is on the famous Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Thuringia. The perfect location for this charming shop.

Krämerbrücke

This is a picture of the bridge before the shops are open. During the day it it is a tiny bit more crowded, :).

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

What were your finds in the last week?

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In my mailbox

 

Our library (read why it sucks here) will be closing in a week for the big move into the new building. So they are encouraging everybody to check out as many books as they can, in order to facilitate the activities. So I went there on Thursday and got 13 books. To you this might sound like nothing (I have seen library haul in blog posts that was gigantic) but it is quite a lot for me. I got mostly non-fiction (health and cooking) but one.

 

From the library

  •  Coraline by Neil Gaiman. This is going to be my first encounter with Neil Gaiman. Unfortunately I got it in German, and I am not sure whether the translation will be ok, but we will see. I came across it by accident in the children’s section while browsing for the Dragon Slayers’ Academy.

Cover Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Election! by Dan Gutman

election

Once you know it, it’s not that complicated.  

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Explaining to kids the secrets of the US way to elect a president-

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For children who: want to know more about the US system of electing the US President.

 


My thoughts: 

Dan Gutman has quite a knack for explaining the election process that until now seemed complicated and inexplicable to me. As a European I don’t know much about it, but at the same time am not willing to read some dry political essay about how that system works. This book came in handy and it was a useful guide.

It works with questions and answers; questions that children would ask, and answers that are simple enough for them to understand, but still not simplifying too much.

Dan Gutman goes a bit back into the history here and there and throws in little tidbits of information and trivia, like who started campaigning, who won the electoral vote even though they lost the popular vote etc. Quite interesting!

I liked that he also tried to pass along the message to his readers how important it is to vote and how you should go about it, i.e. how to make informed decisions and not just believe what TV ads tell them.

All in all I think this is a very helpful book for children in the US to understand a bit more about how presidential elections work. The other target group would be people like me, non-US adults who want to know a bit about this topic but are unwilling to read tons of detailed administrative papers. That little, basic knowledge, prepared for children, was just the right thing for me.


Location:

USA map

Map from wikipedia.org


Movie tip

All the President’s Men (1976)


Product info and buy link :

Title Election!
Author Dan Gutman
Publisher Open Road Media
ISBN n/a
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy Election! at Open Road Media (out August 21)

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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In my mailbox

 

You might wonder why there is an IMM post today, seeing that I am in the middle of a book buying ban. True, but when I saw the book below on Netgalley I just had to request it.

 

For review

  •  Election! by Dan Gutman.
    A kids’ book is exactly what I need to explain the secrets of the American political system. Now at least I will be able to add my 2 cents in November.
    election

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Weekend cooking: Literary Baking

Something exciting happened so I had to interrupt my new weekend cooking veggie series to show you something else. You might call me insane, at least my husband has done just that. He said – and I quote – “you are like one of those nutcase women who see the face of Jesus Christ in a sponge cake”, but, naturally, I don’t agree.

 The Original Grinch

Last week I baked banana bread again for a kindergarten party and when the cake came out of the oven I noticed this little piece of dough sticking out of the cake. Imagine my surprise when I took a closer look and discovered that it was The Grinch! I recognized him immediately. I got the book and found the corresponding image and there was my proof.

My GrinchThe mirrored Grinch

Once I had mirrored the Grinch even John recognized him (it took some encouragement, though).

Next time you bake something and a little bit of dough escaped its mold, don’t snap it off and throw it away carelessly! It might be a hidden treasure.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

What did you find on the web in the last few days?

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It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex–Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals

trexVery short synopsis:

Short e-book for the iPhone or iPad about the T-Rex and its living environment.

 

 

 


inanutshell 

I read/listened to it in: English

I liked it:    Yes, but more important, my son liked it even more. This is my first step in the world of iPhone books (I don’t read e-books on the phone) and I was surprised at the convenience and possibilities. The book is short – and just right for the attention span of children. You can either swipe to get to the next page/scene or have it play itself on auto, and you can either read yourself or have the book read to you. A tap on an animal shows or tells the name of it and a tap on a word in the text has the word read to you. It’s a lovely, entertaining e-book for kids and has great illustrations to boot.
There are more books in the series about other dinosaurs as well.

For kids who like: Dinosaurs, especially T-Rex, and want to know more about them.


Product info and buy link :

Title It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex
Publisher Oceanhouse Media
I got this book from Publisher’s Weekly with a coupon code. A review was not required.
Buy link Buy It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex on iTunes

 

What children’s books for iPhone do you know and recommend?

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Earth Day and The Lorax Project

Another Earth Day and time for another Lorax Project. At Seussville you will find plenty of idea about how to introduce your children to environmental issues and how to teach them about taking good care of our environment.

The Lorax Project Screenshot

They can take the pledge to help the Lorax and print out a little certificate, create stickers and tags, send a letter to the Lorax, play games, learn about animals and find out what they can do to help the environment.

Check out the Lorax Project today!

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Weekend cooking: The world in your lunchbox by Claire Eamer

worldinlunchboxBlurb:

Discover the tasty stories behind the foods we love.

A ham sandwich on white bread. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut-butter-and-banana roll-ups. They may sound like ordinary items, but they take us on an amazing journey through the rich history and astonishing science of food.
Explore a week of lunches—from apples to pizza—by taking a romp through thousands of years of extraordinary events. With a vibrant design and quirky illustrations, THE WORLD IN YOUR LUNCH BOX is like the perfect lunch: satisfying, well-balanced, and totally delicious.

 

 


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes, I love visual reference books for kids

For people who like: food, history of food, children who want to know more about what they are eating


My thoughts: 

This is a book for 8 to 12 year old children. I got it because it sounded interesting, looked cute and I really like visual reference books for kids.

Unfortunately my e-reader makes it impossible to read such books, so I had to read it on my computer, which is not very comfortable. However, I enjoyed the book so much that I am inclined to get a print edition to get a better look and to go through it with my boys.

Now, the lunches we are talking about are definitely North American. Hot Dogs, macaroni & cheese or tortillas are not the typical European lunch for children, but we do know that kind of food, so it didn’t matter. Then again, you can’t get more old world-ish than a ham sandwich…

Every lunch (there are seven) consists of various food components, like for example, ham, bread, tomatoes and watermelons, each of which is explained in detail in the following chapter. There is a general information about the meal/dish (Earl of Sandwich), a historical info page (Ancient Romans knew cured ham) and a scientific one (how come salt protects meat from going bad?). I learned lots from this book, or did you know about sugar and hotness molecules in mustard seeds?

Of course, everything is explained in an uncomplicated way, suitable for children. So don’t expect detailed  excursions into the scientific ins and outs of food chemistry. But is is interesting, educational and fun.

There are tons of cute illustrations by Sa Boothroyd that add another layer of entertainment to the book. Additional in-between pages with information on cultural differences (British chips are not like American chips) or with historical facts (what did a medieval child have for lunch? – Pottage!) complete this delightful and informative book for children who want to know more about their daily food.

Highly recommended!


Product info and buy link :

Title The world in your lunchbox
Author Claire Eamer
Publisher Annick Press
ISBN 9781554513925
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy The world in your lunchbox
More info You can have a look inside the book and learn more about author and illustrator at Annick Press

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This post is part of

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

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The Grinch

My 24 days of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Grinch stole ChristmasI am a big Dr. Seuss fan, so it comes as no surprise that my favourite Christmas book is “How the Grinch stole Christmas”. Even though I can’t quite see how the Grinch so quickly sees the error of his ways, I suppose for a children’s book it is necessary to keep it simple.

To get into the Christmas spirit Seussville offers various activities. You will find an online coloring game for your kids where they can color in various Grinch-related images. It’s fun!

There are a lot of other projects, like making your own Grinch mask, making a door knob, games and more to pass the time until Christmas.

And if you can’t get enough of the Grinch, check out the Grinch ornaments on Wizzley.

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Week on the web #5

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

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Week on the web #3

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

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An unequal fight

Unequal fight

I couldn’t really call this post “What I like…besides books” because playing with Playmobil is not really one of my hobbies, however, I do spend quite a bit of  time doing it.

As you can see a fierce battle is about to start. Needless to say the strong and well-equipped army of knights and soldiers in the temple belongs to my son whereas the motley crew of peasants, civilians without any weapons and poor sods without even a brain belongs to me… Some reading on asymmetric warfare is in order.